I was rummaging through some files-no, not computer files for you youngsters out there- but old fashioned files, ones you find in folders-no, not computer folders-but folders containing files in boxes, when I came across a magazine, the name of which will not be mentioned, and it brought back an angry memory.
I contributed an article to this magazine nearly a decade ago and it still infuriates me when I think about what happened. If you are a writer, or an artist, you will understand.
The article was about “Captain Midnight,” a 1950’s television show, one beloved by boys across America. I actually cried and cried when we went on vacation on a Saturday before the airing of the latest episode. How could we leave before the show aired? How can a father be so mean and ruthless? Why wasn’t mom on my side? How can I cry for over two hours on the drive that sent my father into . . . well never mind.
The point is that the article was a nostalgic view of the old show, it’s origin and history, with a lot of background information that was well researched. I submitted my article with the word count guidelines and waited for the issue. I had written one or two articles for them before and had not encountered any problems. But boy did I encounter one with “Captain Midnight.”
The first four paragraphs were fine, no problem. But with the exception of one sentence at the end of paragraph five, the rest of the article was not there. Gone, gone, gone. Any writer can understand my mouth-dropping, eye-popping, flip-flopping stomach; shock changing to disillusionment evolving to anger. Captain Midnight had been sabotaged. What evil enemy of the good captain could have done this?
And here is the kicker. And the reason I never wrote for this magazine again. The editor told me in an email that he printed what he received from me in the emailed article I sent. But that could not be. In case you did not catch what I said earlier, I repeat, “with the exception of one sentence at the end of paragraph five, the rest of the article was not there.” That means somehow the first part of paragraph five was not there, but the closing sentence was intact. That does not happen, can not happen. Sorry Mr. Editor, but I am not that dumb, close I grant you, but even I don’t believe that reasoning.
I always print copies of my articles to see what the editor may have changed, make note of it, and see if that can improve my writing. I know that email can be troublesome at times, but what you send is what will be received and a paragraph does not disappear leaving one sentence intact.
As an adult I did not cry when “Captain Midnight” was sabotaged by a less than honorable editor. But I did tell Batman the Joker was alive and running a magazine and after giving Batman the location and address . . . well it is good to have Batman as a friend. RIP former editor.